EVOQUE FEELINGS OF PRESTIGE
THE Range Rover Evoque is one of those cars people buy because they want to be seen trundling along the most fashionable of shopping strips in the most fashionable of suburbs.
The words ‘Range’ and ‘Rover’ are worth their weight in prestige gold.
We liked the diesel version, but this time around we've been thrown the keys to the 2017 Range Rover Evoque SE SI4, powered by a 2.0-litre turbo intercooled petrol engine. The engine produces 177kw and 340Nm across a broad power band and is mated to the same nine-speed automatic as the diesel.
Power is sent to all four wheels. Performance is rather rapid. Land Rover claims that the Evoque SE SI4 will launch from rest to 100km/h in 7.6 seconds.
The generous power band allows for swift and confident overtaking and the engine even makes a raspy and throaty noise. What a pleasant surprise!
We also noted that the petrol engine seemed to be a better match for the ninespeed automatic and start/stop system than the diesel powerplant.
The Evoque SE SI4'S four-wheel drive and multi-mode all road system has settings for mud and sand, among other things, but the turbo engine makes you want your Evoque away from the pretentious high street and down a twisting country road. It still oozes class and sophistication, but it also encourages you to have a little fun.
The ride and handling set-up complements the sporty and luxury facets of the car's personality.
Steering is well weighted and delivers excellent feedback, while the ride is firm without shaking your fillings.
Inside, the Evoque SE is standard Range Rover. Passengers are surrounded by cool, clean lines and high quality surfaces.
The seats are plush and wonderfully comfortable, although we do wish they had a little more bolstering.
One interior drawback is a tiny centre console – so small that it struggles to swallow a smartphone – and it can be incredibly fiddly plugging devices into one of its ports. Another gripe is Land Rover's reluctance to adopt the Android Auto and Apple Car Play software packages; instead, you can get Land Rover's own equivalent, a system they call Incontrol Apps.
It's a $710 option and simply not as intuitive as the smartphone-based applications. And users must download an app to their phone in order for it to function.
The Range Rover Evoque SE SI4 is priced from $68,788 plus on-road costs. Not too bad for something with this much badge cache, style and luxury.
There's a raft of options, among them a $2680 SE Tech Pack (xenon headlights with LED signature lighting and automatic headlight levelling, headlight powerwash, front fog lights, automatic high beam assist), a panoramic roof with powered blind ($2410), Head-up Display ($2370), Digital Audio Broadcast Radio ($920) and chrome treadplates ($420).
At least you'll take comfort in knowing that your Evoque will be different to your neighbour's.
Verdict: The Range Rover Evoque SE SI4 is a quality luxury SUV that isn't afraid to let its hair down. We'd buy one.
Range Rover's petrol-powered Evoque SE S14.